This blog post talks about the relationship I had with my dad. A very broad view.
Lets jump right in…
Before my dad passed we had a solid year of reconnection. Before that It had been strained for nearly 5 years. Why? I wish I could tell you why from my dad’s POV because from mine, I have no solid idea. I constantly received hostility from him and it was stunting my own personal growth during a time in my 20’s I was already confused and trying to figure things out. I couldn’t afford to have such negative energy around me, so I distanced myself. We only came back together after I was forced to be the bigger person because I really needed someone in my corner during COVID. I was alone in a studio apartment and my mental health was struggling. I reached out to him nearly out of desperation. I had to call him 6 times before he answered and go through an annoying conversation with him about how he thought I was not “on the right path”. Mind you, I had a good paying job as a senior graphic designer working for the city of Atlanta at the time, with my own car and apartment in the city. I was doing just fine. I knew he was either full of BS or struggling with his own mental issues when he emphasized a time I forgot to wait to take my communion with everyone else and to him, that was blasphemy. I hadn’t done communion in years and forgot. Sue me. Lol That and other weird situations with my dad really led me to believe that he was struggling internally from the diabetic coma he went through back in 2011. That’s a story for another day, but my father was sick. More sick than he ever wanted to admit to anyone. Let’s talk about his last few months.
The last few memorable moments I had with my father were around this time in 2021. He came around to visit me in my new home and help me with a furniture building project I was working on. I was almost 2 months pregnant at the time and he helped me move the large pieces of wood. I spent last fathers day with him. He also helped me deal with making the decisions that best suited me and my baby in terms of her father.
In all honesty it was hard handling my dad in full doses. His illness and diabetes made his temperament very unpredictable. So the next time I saw my dad was in August. I got a call from a family member telling me he was sick and needed someone to check up on him. I called and he said no he was fine. 10 minutes later he called back and said he really did need some help.
5 months pregnant at the time and dealing with my own pregnancy complications I packed all my stuff up to head to his place. When I got there he was definitely not doing well, but he said that this happens and he just needs to get some food down and sleep it off. I made him drink 2 bottles of water and some soup and I put him to bed. I needed my own sense of comfort amongst all that was going on so I told him I’d come back in the morning. I called him 3 times between leaving and coming back that morning. He didn’t answer any of them, but I figured he was asleep, but I still had a bad feeling. When I went back at 8am he wouldn’t answer the door and I could hear him make indistinct noises inside of the house. I called 911 and they had to break down the door.
They ended up taking him to the hospital. Once admitted I was able to go see him. They say he flatlined 3 times, but somehow they got him back. He was having congestive heart failure complications. He stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks then demanded to be let out. He would not come live with me until I guess he realized he didn’t have a choice. It was either the hospital or with me. While at my house he went into a hyperglycemic shock twice. The first time at 2am trying to get something from the fridge (most likely something that would get his sugar back up). This has happened a number of times in the past, one time in particular was literally the morning we were headed to the airport to take me to college.
The second time while at my house was at 6am. I could hear random noises in my sleep and woke up to check up on him and found him on the floor. I tried to prick his finger to get his blood sugar before I called 911, but before I could even try he stopped moving. I called 911, they had me do CPR until they got there (took them maybe 7 minutes). They tried to revive him for what felt like forever. They ended up rushing him to the hospital and announcing him dead September 26, 2021 at 10am.
I tell this story, because this is a huge portion of the father I remember. I break my life up into the 3 decades of life. The 1st decade I was with my mother for the majority of it and my family was very unstable. The 2nd decade was solely me and my father and I consider it the best our relationship had ever been, but it was also shaded in with my own naive kid brain. The 3rd decade I was in college for most of it. It was also when my dad went into the diabetic coma and there was the most hostility and estrangement between us.
So let me sum this all up. I miss my dad, but I miss a relationship that died a long time ago. My grieving process wasn’t what I thought it would be at all. His death left a lot on my plate to figure out logistically (I didn’t have access to his life insurance) and at the end of it I was just glad it was over.
I was definitely blessed to have my father in my life given the track record for men in my family and I learned so much from him. He was my main support system and really did help me build my confidence and commitment to the things I enjoyed. I just wish I had that same dad in my 20’s.
Happy Fathers Day, dad. I wish you could’ve met your granddaughter. She’s gonna miss out on your silliness and honesty, but it’s okay because you’ll definitely be here in spirit.